Bronco Spotlight: Edward Mulford

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Bachelor of Business Administration in integrated supply management, 2018

Staff Consultant at Baker Tilly 

As an Enterprise Solutions Staff Consultant, I help with the digitalization of manufacturing organizations through cloud-based ERP solutions and process enhancements. At a high level, this means implementing an Internet-based software that manages the data between all of the functional areas (accounting, production, sales, purchasing, etc.) needed to operate their business with transparency and flexibility. We work with clients to develop an operational business model that suits their needs. My role includes traveling to client site locations, mapping the current processes, and then working with a diverse team to discuss how to configure the new system. After testing and training, we support the 'Go-Live' of the new system. As a member of the Enterprise Solutions team, we focus revolutionizing manufacturing companies with Industry 4.0 (automation of cyber-physical systems). Each day is different, but most involve meetings, system configuration, and data analysis. 

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

Learning, problem-solving, and teaching. Consulting involves learning very quickly how each client operates and what challenges they face. Problem-solving often includes discussion of what to keep from an old process and what to create in the new. Change is hard, so balancing the wants of multiple users with the end goal is critical. Teaching on how the software works, as well as how each step connects in the new business process where the real value added service is. The most rewarding part is after the 'Go-Live' when I can see employees that had been doing the same thing for 20+ years using a new system that makes their jobs more meaningful and less tedious. Watching a company go from a paperwork-heavy system to automated computer workflow is seeing a digital revolution. 

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career? 

Mentorship had the biggest impact on my life. By learning from successful people about what to focus on and what things to avoid, I was able to start defining and going after my own dreams. The best mentors never answered my questions, but rather helped me refine and answer them myself. Instead of 'What job/career should I go into?' I learned to ask 'What problems do I want to be able to solve?' Through internships, studying abroad, and being very involved on WMU's campus I met a lot of inspirational people. Some of my mentors were retired from long careers in business while others were only a year older than me. I also learned a lot from being a mentor and trying to help others find their path. With each personal story, I learned to craft my own principles and refine my direction. I'd recommend reaching out to the Zhang Career Center and professors, and older classmen to start with. Then expand to fellow colleagues and your boss after starting a job. You don't have to reinvent the wheel of success, simply study others and customize your own. 

What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college? 

For those interested in consulting, know that you don't need an MBA or years of experience to start. Consulting is providing advice to a client for a fee, often related to management, technology, or on a specific topic. With the amount of technology change, there is a massive need for people that can understand how to leverage it for existing organizations. Being a freelance website/social media developer is a form of consulting to a client that doesn't know how to use the internet to spread the word about their organization. Communication skills are by far the most important to understand problems and explain solutions. A lot of nuance is required to help the client discover the path to their success. Merely telling a client what isn't working or how something should be functioning does not provide a lot of value. Each client organization is different, so there is no simple packaged solution. Experience is essential but can be gained quickly with internships/professional organizations and outside the classroom learning. Networking is crucial to consulting, and also probably the best way to get into an existing consulting firm. 

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